1-in-50 burnt out physicians plan to leave medicine within next 2 years, survey says

A survey, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, attempted to better understand burnout through studying EHR satisfaction, work-life balance and the career path of U.S. physicians.

Researchers contacted 35,922 physicians between Aug. 28, 2014 and Oct. 6, 2014. They received 6,452 responses. Physicians were surveyed about reducing clinical hours in the next 12 months and the likelihood of leaving their current practice in the next 24 months.

Here's what they found:

1. Approximately 19.8 percent or 1,275 physicians reported they would reduce their clinical hours within the next 12 months.

2. Around 26.6 percent or 1,726 physicians said they'd likely or definitely leave their current practice within 2 years.

3. Of the departing physicians, 1.9 percent or 126 said they'd leave medicine altogether to pursue a different career.

4. Burnout, dissatisfaction with work-life balance and EHR work independently predicted intent to reduce clinical hours or the desire to leave a current practice.

Researchers concluded, "Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. physicians intend to reduce clinical work hours in the next year, and roughly 1 in 50 intend to leave medicine altogether in the next two years to pursue a different career. If physicians follow through on these intentions, it could profoundly worsen the projected shortage of U.S. physicians."

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